The political conflict within the ruling Peoples Democratic Party in Nigeria’s oil rich Rivers state took a new turn today with the suspension of the speaker of the state assembly and 26 other members.
The disputed chairman of the party, Mr Felix Obuah accused the 27 members of the House elected on the party platform for insubordination.
Obuah announced the suspension to newsmen in Port Harcourt on Monday, saying the members did not comply with the party’s directive on dissolution of Obio/Akpor Local Government Council. On April 22, the assembly suspended the Obio/Akpor Council chairman, his deputy and the 17 councillors for alleged reckless spending of public funds.
President Goodluck Jonathan and Gov Amaechi
The assembly said that the allegations were made by the Obio/Akpor stakeholders from the 17 wards of the local government area.
It explained that the petition was weighty and required a thorough investigation which would require the suspension of the accused for proper investigation to take place. The assembly said that the suspension was pending the outcome of the investigation.
The party chairman said that the party issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the assembly to rescind the order on dissolution of the Obio/Akpor council but “it was flagrantly disobeyed.’’
Obuah said: “the party hereby suspended all the 27 members of the House of Assembly that carried out such action while their matter is referred to Disciplinary Committee for further action.’’
On the grounding of the Rivers Government aircraft, the chairman said that the party “views with grave concern the unfolding facts surrounding the ownership of the purported aircraft“.
Obuah said that the party would not fold its arms and allow “monumental“ fraud to be perpetrated in the state.
He alleged that from the records available and statements credited to the Acting Director General of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the aircraft was not bought by the government.
Obuah said the records showed that the Aircraft Bombardier BD 700, Global Express aircraft with registration No. 5N5N65 RS, was owned by Utah Limited States of America.
He said that the aircraft registration showed that it was owned by Bank of Utah Trustee of Salt Lake City, Utah Limited States of America.
The chairman said that the aircraft was operated illegally as its clearance approval expired on April 2 and had since been operating in violation of the rules of civil aviation authorities.
“It is unacceptable and embarrassing to our great party that public funds are hopelessly mismanaged; as a result these questions must be answered by the Rivers State Government.
“Where is the aircraft, purportedly bought with the Rivers State funds and tax payers’ money?
“Where have the billions of naira taken from the coffers of the Rivers State Government gone to and for what purpose was it appropriated and where is it diverted?“ Obuah asked.
He said the state government should give a copious explanation concerning the funds spent on the aircraft or face disciplinary action from the party.
Obuah said that the PDP government led by President Goodluck Jonathan had zero tolerance for corruption and that the state PDP would also not condone such .
He, however, directed all party members in the state to be totally loyal to the new state executive council and warned that the party would not hesitate to deal with deviants.
Obuah warned members of the party to refrain from making unsavory and unguarded utterances that were inimical to peace and development in the party.